Vanderbilt's 2013 SEC Tournament ended on Friday night with a 76-65 loss to the Kentucky Wildcats in the Gwinnett Arena in Duluth, Georgia. Tiffany Clarke led the Dores with 24 points and 14 rebounds, and Jasmine Lister scored 17. Vanderbilt out-rebounded UK, but 23 turnovers spelled t-r-o-u-b-l-e for the Dores.
DULUTH, Ga. -- After Vanderbilt's victory over Missouri Thursday night, Head Coach Melanie Balcomb was asked about her plans for defending A'dia Mathies, who scored 28 points when the teams played in the regular season.
"She's going to get her points; she's a tremendous player who has a lot of accolades in this conference with the experience, so obviously we want to do a better job on her to start with," Balcomb said.
When the dust cleared, it looked like Vanderbilt did do a better job on Mathies, who scored 16 points on Thursday night. But it wasn't enough to stop Kentucky.
As they had on Wednesday night against Missouri, the Dores got off to a slow start.
"Kentucky's defense to start the game was really good, really aggressive, really physical, created a lot of offense off their defense," said Balcomb after the game. "I Just pretty much want to give them credit for how they came out and attacked us right away and put us on our heels. Then we just tried to fight back the rest of the game."
The first eight minutes were painful for Vanderbilt fans to watch. At the 12:38 mark of the first half, Kentucky took a 10-point lead at 13-3, as Vanderbilt had twice as many turnovers (six) as points (three).
After that, the Dores were able to cut the UK lead to four points at 17-13 at the 9:28 mark, but the Wildcats were able to build on their lead as the half progress and by halftime led by 15 at 38-23.
In the second half, things got worse for Vanderbilt before they got better. With 13:28 left in the game, a free throw by Samantha Drake gave the Wildcats a 21-point lead, their biggest of the game.
But then over the next four minutes, Vanderbilt made a run to cut the Kentucky lead to eleven points at 54-43. But the Dores could come no closer, and the Wildcats built their lead up to 19 points again with four minutes left in the game.
But the Dores had one more run left in them. Tiffany Clarke went on a rampage, scoring 13 points in that last run to cut the final margin to 11 points at 76-65.
Although Kentucky won the ultimate statistic, total points scores, statistically the game had some bright spots for Vanderbilt. After committing 16 turnovers in the first half leading to 17 points for Kentucky, in the second half, the Dores committed only seven turnovers. After shooting only 39% in the first half, Vanderbilt shot 53% in the second half. And for the game, the Dores out-reounded Kentucky 36-26, including a 16-10 edge on the offensive glass.
With the regular season and SEC tournament behind them, Vanderbilt now looks ahead with to Selection Monday March 18 when the NCAA announces the field of 64 for the 2013 tournament.
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Christina Foggie steals and scores on the fast break.
3-pointer by Foggie cuts UK lead to 15-7.
Jasmine Jenkins against the Kentucky defense
Jasmine Lister cuts UK lead to seven at 22-15.
Heather Bowe scores to make score UK 24, VU 17.
Tiffany Clarke scores to end an 8-0 UK run.
Morgan Batey battles for a rebound.
Elan Brown hits a 3-pointer to start the second half.
Tiffany Clarke scores on an assist from Morgan Batey.
Christina Foggie scores to make score UK 54, VU 36.
Kendall Shaw scores to cut UK lead to 54-40.
Tiffany Clarke scores last basket of game.
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Photos copyright 2013 by Whitney D. for VandyMania.com.